Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cinnamon Apple Cake

Cinnamon Apple Cake - made January 23, 2010 from Baking by Flavor by Lisa Yockelson

While I generally don't like fruity desserts, apples in baked goods are a notable exception. Apple pie, apple cobbler, apple crisp, apple tart, just to name a few. And now I'm going to add apple cake. I've had this recipe typed up for awhile and filed in my "Still Need to Make" folder. I finally made it today and my only regret is I didn't make it sooner. OMG, this is good cake. Moist, flavorful, perfect texture and crumb. You bake the cake then brush it with a glaze made of honey, apple juice, cinnamon and butter. OMG. The glaze is thicker than a soaking syrup but not quite as thick as a normal glaze. Doesn't matter because it adds moistness and flavor to an already moist and flavorful cake. Did I say OMG?

I probably shouldn't be surprised because this recipe came from one of my all-time favorite baking books. And with as many baking books as I have, that's saying something. If you only ever buy one baking book in your life, make it one by Lisa Yockelson. This woman rocks. 90% of the recipes I've made from her books not only turn out but they turn out really well. Baking by Flavor is one of my favorites because the recipes are pretty varied and they're just good recipes. I'd make this cake again in a heartbeat and probably will. Most of it is going to my parents' tomorrow and to my cousin's for my uncle's birthday lunch. (Sorry, work peeps, no leftovers for Monday.) The biggest pain was grating the apples but I only had to grate 3 so it wasn't too bad. Putting together the rest of it was extremely easy. It also came out of the Bundt pan fairly easily although a few bits got stuck to the pan so it didn't come out completely perfect. But close enough.

Oh and I do have to mention I omitted the walnuts (of course) and the cardamom, partly because I don't like cardamom and partly because I didn't have any. I also made a rookie mistake and forgot to add the salt to the batter. I had already poured the batter into the Bundt pan and was ready to put it in the oven when I realized it was missing the salt. I sprinkled the teaspoon of salt in the cake batter already in the pan and gave it a few stirs to mix it up. Yeah, don't try that at home. It still turned out pretty well though :).

3 cups unsifted bleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar, sieved if lumpy
3 large eggs
1 cup plain vegetable oil (such as soybean)
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 ¼ cups peeled and shredded apples, preferably Jonathan, Stayman, Empire, Gala, Paula Red, Rome Beauty, or Granny Smith, about 3 large or 1 1/3 pounds (for grating, use the large holes of a 4-sided box grater)
¾ cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted and cooled completely (optional)

Buttery cinnamon-apple juice syrup for brushing over the warm, baked cake
½ cup unsweetened, pasteurized apple juice
¼ cup honey
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, softened
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Film the inside of a 10” Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
2. Sift the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom onto a sheet of waxed paper.
3. Place the granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, and eggs in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer. Mix on moderately high speed for 2 minutes, or until lightened, creamy-textured, and slightly billowy. The mixture will be a creamy coffee color. Add the oil, butter, and vanilla extract, and continue beating for 2 minutes longer. The batter will be moderately thin.
4. On low speed, beat in the sifted mixture in two additions, blending until the particles of flour are completely absorbed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently to keep the batter even-textured. Stir in the shredded apples and walnuts, if you are using them.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Gently shake the pan (once or twice) from side to side to level the top.
6. Bake the cake for 55 minutes, or until a wooden pick withdraws clean or with a few moist crumbs attached. The baked cake will pull away slightly from the sides of the baking pan. Let the cake stand in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 to 8 minutes, then invert onto another rack. Place a sheet of waxed paper under the rack to catch any droplets of glazing syrup.
7. Stir the apple juice, honey and cinnamon in a small, heavy nonreactive saucepan (preferably enameled cast iron). Place over high heat and cool 1 minute to dissolve the honey. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes, or until reduced to 5 tablespoons.
8. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and add the softened butter and vanilla extract. Whisk until the butter has melted down completely.
9. Using a soft pastry brush, apply the hot glaze generously over the top and sides of the cake. Cool completely before slicing and serving. Use a serrated knife to cut neatly and cleanly.

Freshly baked, the cake keeps for 4 days.

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